Historical studies in the Comparative, English and American literature traditions are organized into sequences. (Please notify the instructor if you need a sequence course in order to moderate in the spring of 2011.)



LIT 204A   Comp Lit I: Ancient Quarrels – Literature and Critique in Classical Antiquity

Thomas Bartscherer

. T . Th .

10:10  - 11:30 am

RKC 200


Cross-listed:  Classical Studies  In a celebrated passage from Plato’s Republic, Socrates claims that there is “an ancient quarrel between philosophy and poetry.” In this course, we will consider this and other ways in which ancient authors (or their characters) configured the relationship between poetic production and theoretical inquiry, and therewith gave birth to the practice of literary criticism in the West. We will begin with Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, focusing particularly on the understanding of poetry manifest within the world of these poems. Readings from Greek literature will also include lyric poetry (focusing on Sappho and Pindar), and Attic drama (e.g., Aristophane’s Frogs and Clouds, Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound, Euripides’ Medea and Bacchae). Readings from the Latin corpus will include the epic poetry of Vergil and Ovid, the lyrics of Horace and Catullus, and Roman drama (including Plautus’s Amphitryon and Seneca’s Medea). Concurrently, we will be examining the ongoing critique of literature from the fragments of early Greek philosophers (e.g. Anaxagoras, Xenophanes, Heraclitus), through Plato and Aristotle, to Cicero, Horace, Longinus, and Plotinus. Our twofold aim will be to develop an understanding of all these texts in their original context and to consider how they set the stage for subsequent developments in western literature and criticism. Class size: 20



LIT 204C   Comparative Literature III

Florian Becker

. T . Th .

4:40  - 6:00 pm

ASP 302


This course examines the peculiar and perplexing Euro-American literary transformation loosely named Romanticism to Modernity. Reading selected texts by a limited number of authors very carefully, we will emphasize the relation between the self and others, as it happens in language: what is it to meet others in words? How do actions and obligations emerge and change out of encounters in language? How does what we think or know get linked with what we do, if it does? And how does language sustain or bear with non-human others: ideas, the dead, memories, and so on? Readings may include Balzac, Baudelaire, Bűchner, Dostoevsky, Flaubert, Goethe, Hoffman, James, Kafka, Keats, Kleist and others. Class size: 22



LIT 251   English Literature II

Lianne Habinek

. . W . F

11:50  - 1:10 pm

OLIN 202


This course explores seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literature in England, during a vital transition between a period of dissent, struggle and war to an achieved modernity, a nation of divergent identities in compromise. The seventeenth century's characteristic figure is Satan struggling against God in Milton's Paradise Lost. but other poets and dramatists like John Donne, Ben Jonson, John Webster, and Andrew Marvell helped to shape the age's passionate interest in the conflict of political, religious, and social ideas and values. After the Civil War and the Puritan rule, monarchy was restored, at least as a reassuring symbol, and writers were free to play up the differences as they did in the witty, bawdy dramatic comedies of the elites and the novels by writers such as Defoe and Fielding which appealed to middle-class readers.  Class size: 22



LIT 252   English Literature III

Deirdre d'Albertis

. . W . F

1:30  - 2:50 pm

OLIN 303


Cross-listed: Victorian Studies    This course explores developments in British literature from the late eighteenth century to the twentieth century—a period marked by the effects of the French and American Revolutions, rapid industrialization, the rise and decline of empire, two world wars, the development of regional identities within Britain, and growing uncertainty about the meaning of "Britishness" in a global context. Beginning with the "Romantics" and ending with avant garde English poetry of the 1970s and 1980s, we will discuss such issues as the construction of tradition, the imagining of Britain, conservatism versus radicalism, the empire, and the usefulness (or not) of periodization. The centerpiece of the course is close reading—of poetry, prose, essays, and plays. There will also be a strong emphasis on the historical and social contexts of the works we are reading, and on the specific ways in which historical forces and social changes shape and are at times shaped by the formal features of literary texts.Class size: 18



LIT 257   Literature of the U.S. I -  Amazing Grace: The Puritan Legacy in American Literature & Culture

Elizabeth Frank

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. . . Th .

3:10  - 4:30 pm

1:30  - 2:50 pm

OLIN 101


Cross–listed: American Studies, Theology  Writings from the first three generations of Puritan settlement in seventeenth-century Massachusetts are closely examined not only in relation to each other but also to later American texts bearing persistent traces of Puritan concerns.  We will explore such essential Puritan obsessions as the authority of divinely authored Scripture, original sin, predestination, election, free grace, "the city on a hill," and covenanted relations between mankind and God.  Our focus will be on the rich and fertile complexity, as well as the problematic features of Puritan belief and rhetoric as they find expression in Puritan writings.  We will look at Pauline theology, Puritan plain style and metaphor, and the Puritan construction of the radically individual American self.  Authors include notable Puritan divines, poets, historians and citizens, as well as later writers, among them Jonathan Edwards, Washington Irving, Emerson, Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Robert Lowell and Martin Luther King, Jr.   Class size: 22



LIT 258   Literature of the U.S. II

Matthew Mutter

. T . Th .

4:40  - 6:00 pm

OLIN 201


Cross–listed: American Studies  This course explores the major American writers of the mid-nineteenth century and seeks to sharpen student capacities for close reading and historical contextualization.  Careful attention to important texts will open onto considerations of a variety of topics: the legacy of Puritanism, the politics of westward expansion and the figurations of wilderness, the slavery crisis, American transformations of Romanticism, and democratic poetics.  Writers include Emerson, Fuller, Thoreau, Whitman, Douglass, Melville, Hawthorne, Poe, and Dickinson.  Class size: 22